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OSTEOID, A New Forensic Tool: Developing a Practical Online Resource for Species Identification of Skeletal Remains

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Competitive Discretionary
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2018, $185,453)

Although approximately 30-40 percent of cases received by forensic anthropologists end up being nonhuman, resources for faunal species identification from skeletal remains are limited. The goal of the proposed project is to develop a practical and easy-to-use online tool (OSTEOID), where an individual can use simple measurements and morphological information to determine whether an unknown bone is human, and if it is nonhuman, identify the faunal (i.e., animal) species. This searchable database will contain high-quality photographs, annotated to highlight any species-specific features, and links to downloadable 3D models of elements (for viewing or printing). Basic measurements input by the user will help narrow down potential species, minimizing the number of visual comparisons to be made. The user-friendly interface and free accessibility would mean that law enforcement, crime scene investigators, death investigators, medical examiners, and coroners could use OSTEOID to make preliminary species identifications, reducing time and costs associated with subjecting easily-identifiable animal remains to forensic anthropological analyses. Forensic anthropologists would be able to use OSTEOID to identify the nonhuman species of an element (including more difficult elements, such as carpals, tarsals, and phalanges) without the need of expensive comparative texts or comprehensive faunal skeletal collections. OSTEOID may also be used as a training or educational tool in comparative osteology. OSTEOID will be freely available to the public, with links to 3D models and a downloadable file of all project data. Project dissemination will include outreach through social media, presentations at national meetings, at least two publications in peer-reviewed journals, and NIJ-required reports.

This project contains a research and/or development component, as defined in applicable law, and complies with Part 200 Uniform Requirements - 2 CFR 200.210(a)(14).


Date Created: September 28, 2018